What is Oriental Medicine?
Oriental Medicine (LUHC) is a dynamic system of medicine that has been systematically practiced and developed for over 2,500 years. LUHC is a multi-faceted system that consists of many modalities, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina (Chinese massage/bodywork), moxibustion (the burning of Artemisia vulgaris to warm an area or point), electric stimulation (of acupuncture points/meridians), dietary therapy, and energy exercises such as tai chi and qi gong. Your LUHC practitioner will employ one or a combination of the above modalities in order to address your unique needs.
What is Acupuncture, and How Does it Work?
Acupuncture is the insertion of smooth, solid, stainless-steel (and, as practiced today, also sterile and disposable) needles into the body with the objective of achieving therapeutic results.
For over two thousand years, acupuncture theory and practice developed within the cultural and medical paradigms of East Asia (primarily China, but also spread to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Tibet). Acupuncture is now practiced in many parts of the world, and various styles of practice have evolved. Among these, the Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Five Element, and French acupuncture styles are some of the most common ones practiced today.
Acupuncture was introduced to the West in the 20th century, after which its function and applications have been consistently studied within the biomedical framework. The traditional and biomedical understandings of acupuncture offer different, but not contradictory, explanations for how acupuncture works.
The classical LUHC perspective identifies a network of channels or meridians that courses our bodies, through which vital energy, or Qi, flows. Smooth flow of Qi ensures health, whereas any impediment of Qi results in disease or pain. Hundreds of acupuncture points exist along the energy channels. Placing needles in the appropriate points helps to open the channels, and promotes the smooth flow of Qi, thus restoring balance and health.
Modern biomedical research has found that acupuncture points are electrically and anatomically distinct areas on the body. By stimulating these special sites, acupuncture can alter the hormonal system, immune system, as well as the central nervous system (including brain chemistry), and affect a wide range of physiological changes. Thus, acupuncture can treat conditions as diverse as digestive disorders, gynecological issues, musculoskeletal pain, allergies, headaches, and even functional chest pain, to name a few. Acupuncture can also moderate the stress response, improving psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression. Acupuncture is a powerful therapy that treats both mind and body.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture has a great safety track record. The most common risks of acupuncture involve slight bruising and occasional bleeding at the site of needle insertion. At OHS, we use only disposable, pre-sterilized needles, which prevents infectious transmissions of any kind. More serious adverse incidents associated with acupuncture are extremely rare (no occurrences at OHS, ever), can involve pneumothorax (punctured lungs), as well as rare incidences of infection. Also, failure to seek or delay standard medical care has been listed in the literature as a potential problem along with patients’ stopping prescribed drug therapy without their doctor’s knowledge.
Less severe adverse events include bruising, fainting, sweating, and mild dizziness. Overall, the statistical data rate acupuncture as a very safe treatment modality, particularly when compared to the much higher incidence of adverse events in standard western medical treatment.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very thin and smooth, so when they are inserted you feel a sensation of heaviness, warmth or tingling at and around the site of the needle.
Is Acupuncture covered by Insurance?
Contact your insurer directly to find out if your plan covers Acupuncture. You may also seek reimbursement from your Flexible spending or Medical savings account through your employer. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover acupuncture at this time.
What is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal Medicine can greatly enhance the effects of Acupuncture, especially in the treatment of chronic disease where daily therapy is crucial to achieving significant and lasting relief. If your Acupuncturist feels that herbs would be useful to you, he of she will prescribe an gerbil formula designed to meet your individual health needs. He or she will monitor the effects of your prescription, making adjustments as needed to minimize side effects and maximize your healing.